I stood there gaping at the little elderly woman, wondering who she was and just what she thought she was doing outside my house. “Wait who is that?” I said to Mars quietly while he just shrugged as we walked up the pathway towards the house and the elderly lady. “Hey lady you got the wrong house, this one ain’t yours.” Mars said to her. As I unsuccessfully stifled my laughter she turned to him with a set of sharp eyes and said “If the two of you were not inebriated then you would have noticed the car and chauffer parked in front of this house. Do I look feeble to you young man?”“No ma’am.” Mars said quickly before she turned to me and said “Well are you not going to invite your grandmother in out of the cold? Especially in this chilly night time air with this breeze. What has that mother of yours taught you?”
“I’m sorry did you just say that you are my grandmother? The only one I have died when my mother was born and the other one… Well let’s just say my other either doesn’t know I exist or doesn’t care. Plus you don't really look as old as what someone her age would be.” I replied to her as I began to search my pockets for my keys before nervously running my hand through my hair, doing almost anything to avoid those shrewd eyes of hers. “Yes that would be me and thank-you for my doctor has very gifted hands. Your other grandmother and no I did not know about you until recently after petitioning the courts, spending a lot of money and time on finding out the last part of my late son’s will. Now will you please let me in Razzleberry?” She asked me again and finally I relented.
In my house she sat at the kitchen table as I made some coffee while Mars awkwardly excused himself to go lay down in the guest room. It was silent between us as the coffee machine went with the effort to make up the lack of sound. “I really didn’t know about you until last week Razzleberry.” She said as I handed her a cup of steaming coffee. “It’s Roux.” I said quietly as I sat down. “Pardon me?” She asked in a prim and proper dainty way. “My name, I don’t go by Razzleberry. I go by Roux.” I replied
“Yes, well then Roux as I was saying I didn’t know about you until a week ago. Ever since your father died I’ve been having my lawyers battle your father’s lawyers in court about the one section of his will that he made sure before he died would only be privy to your eyes and his lawyer’s.” She cleared her throat lightly before continuing. “Blue was my only son and child. He passed away at an age that I believe was before his time childless when I found out about that section of his will it gave me hope that there might have been one after all. And you are so almost the very face of him. The moment I saw you approaching with your friend took me back many years to when he was younger and would rebel against his father with his best friend Scotch, coming home all hours of the night with a bit too much nectar in his system.” She said with a weary and tired smile as she recounted days gone past before continuing on.
“I met your mother briefly while your father and she were in a relationship one night. It was just a causal encounter at fundraiser for his campaign; I had thought that she was one of Purrberry friends. Even though one of Blue’s father’s former advisors told me otherwise, that after so many years of Purrberry having her secret lover Blue had finally found one of his own. And it was that girl that was in the photos of him in Tahini that his father paid a lot of money to keep from being published.” She said with a chuckle before she sighed in disappointment as she went on “Though of course my son denied that there was any relationship of the sort. But before he died he told me in that cold hospital room that he would have given it all up for them if she had just stayed no matter what the consequences would have been. His dying breath and last words were spent laminating on your mother and the mistake he made with her, if he could have done it all again he would have left Purrberry the moment your mother came back into his life.”
“So now that you know about me what do you intend on doing?” I asked her after I took a large gulp of my drink and I processed her words for a moment. “That’s up to you dear. While I would love to get and know you better I would understand that if you choose not to. I’ve missed your whole life before now and from the looks of it you live a comfortable one without any of your father’s family intruding.” She replied as she looked around the curiously.
“My wife just left me, taking our children with her since I had an affair and told her about it.” I said challengingly wanting to see her reaction, but she just took my words in stride without flinching even looked me right in the eyes boldly facing my words head on. “You are not the first on this side of the family to do so little Roux. My own late husband has his discretions as did his brother, father and son, your father. Think of it as a rite of passage.” She said dryly before she finished her drink and pushed the mug aside. While I hadn’t been expecting that reaction it didn’t surprise me. My father had technically cheated on his wife, my mother technically cheated on my father that night she had a one night stand with Fade so why was I not surprise to find out that I had come from a long line of cheaters? Yet it was of no comfort that thought because it did not thing to excuse my own affair.
We talked for a while longer before she said that it was time for her to leave. Her driver was still waiting for her outside I saw when I walked her to the door. “Roux I do so hope you keep in touch. And should you ever decide to make it publicly known who your father was, you’ll have my support in doing so.” She said before saying goodbye. As I watched the luxury car pull away and slowly makes its way down the street and around the corner before it disappeared from sight but not from my mind.
Throughout the night I skimmed over the evening’s revelations, revisiting each one repeatedly as if I couldn’t release them from my mind to find peace in sleeping. When the early morning birds began to sing their songs in what seemed like hope that their shrill songs would caress the sun into rising sooner, I sat at my desk in the study with a blank screen in front of me like I had so many times before. Momentarily I closed my eyes and breathed in deeply as I stretched my fingers of the keyboard, feeling the keys underneath them. Like a snap my eyes opened instantly and I began to type almost mindlessly as the words just came pouring out from my heart, my past and present through my fingers as the clicked away, a story began to form right in front of my eyes upon the screen of a woman and a man falling in love so many years ago when their courtship began as children. No, I was not going to let this go silently into the dying night with the stars fading away to continue on struggling with life because of the path my parents had decided. I was going to admit it all with this confessional, every deed, every hurt that I caused, every love, every time I fell and continued to fall away from sweetness into a bitter abyss of loathing and self-destruction.
Every detail and every little secret I typed out well into the afternoon when Mars woke up. “Dude have you been up all night?” he asked when he found me typing away at the computer still dressed in my clothing from last night. “That is correct.” I affirmed, not even taking my eyes off the screen for a moment. “Right well I guess my work is done here random citizen since you’re bathed and not lying on the couch anymore. Are you going to try call and talk to Aubergine today?” He asked me as he sat down on the small couch behind me as I went on typing.
“No, I’m not going to call her. I’m going to do something better, I’m going to go see her and talk to her in person at her parent’s house after I am done typing this up.” I replied taking a moment to stop and rub my eyes. “How much more have you got to go?” Mars asked curiously as he eyed the screen from where he sat. “Not much longer, then I have a few phone calls to make and another shower to take before I hit the road.” I answered as I began to type again; my fingers flew across the keyboard as if driven by something else. “Maybe I should drive since you’ve been up for 24 hours now and your mom would probably kill me if I let you drive to whatever little podunk town Aubergine’s family’s farms is in like this.” Mars pointed out before he got up. “Yeah, sure it’s an almost hour ride inland in the opposite direction of the city. But if I fall asleep and wake up with you lost in some backwoods town like Black Tea Falls I’m going to be pissed man.” I replied to him as he walked out of the room laughing at my last comment.
It was about over and hour before twilight by the time I had finished typing everything out and had it printed while I showered. After a few phone calls we were ready to go and hit the road. Nervously I ran through my mind the things I was going to say to Aubergine when we got there as I tapped impatiently with my foot. I don’t know what I expected to accomplish with what I had wrote, it would take her a few hours just to read it as it had taken me the whole night and many more just to type it all out. All I knew that if there was one person that I wanted to know all of me and my parent’s secrets it was her.
“You know you could make a lot of money off of that probably, especially if as you said your new grandmother is willing to back you up should you choose to.” Mars mentioned while we were driving and eyed the mass amount of printed sheets that I held out of the corner of his eye. “Yeah I know but I didn’t write it to get it published that was never my intentions when I wrote this.” I replied as I idling flipped through the papers while the landscape outside seemed to fly by in a blur.
When we got to Concord Farms the sun was almost done setting and I took this as a hopeful omen. We had met by the sunset and married by it, I hoped that our marriage didn’t end by it too. My heart pounded with every step I took as they brought me closer and closer to the door. But it was her father that answered and he did not look at all happy to see me as he stood there in door way looking at me with anger clearly written across his face. He didn’t say anything for a few moments before he asked me in a voice laced with a quiet rage “Just what the fudge do you think you are doing here?” I took a deep breath and answered firmly to a man that I knew never liked nor trusted me and this whole situation was just fuel for the fodder with him “I want to see my wife and I am not leaving until I do so.”
Another quiet and tense moment passed between us as he visually sized me up while he cracked his knuckles. One of Aubergine’s brothers walk towards use from inside of the house and asked “What’s he doing here?” But Musckat didn’t answer his son or acknowledge his question instead he spoke to me “You have a lot of nerve showing your face around here after what you done. So why don’t you leave before I…”
“Dad no!” Aubergine called from behind him as she came out flying out the front door. Everything I hoped or planned to say disappeared into nothing the moment I saw Aubergine. Her eyes were red like she had been crying and I wanted nothing more than to hurt the person that made her cry but it had been me and I hated myself for what I did to her. Her mother come out behind her and took in the situation quickly. “Where’s your manners Musckat?” She asked in a gently chiding voice to her husband before turning on Mars “Hello I’m Mrs. Concord, Aubergine’s mother. I think I remember you from the wedding, why don’t you come in for something to drink while we let these two talk? We have fresh tea and lemon squares in the kitchen.” Her mother said as she took Mars’s arm and lead in into the house as her father took one look at her for a moment before looking me right in the eye with his own eyes blazed of anger. “Fine.” He gritted through his teeth “But if he gives you any problems I’m only a holler away.” Her father said in an ominous tone
When it was just the two of us on the porch she turned to me and asked “What are you doing here Roux?”
“I want you to come back home, please Aubergine. I quit my job there and I made counseling appointments along with Candy babysitting for us so we could go to them. I’ll do anything you want to make this work between us. I know I messed up and I know that you have every right to leave me and get a divorce. But this is one relationship that I just can’t let go of and that I’ll fight for everyday until you sign any divorce papers because every day that we are still married is a day that you could always come back to me. So please I’ll get down on my hands and knees to beg you to come home if I need to because without you I am lost Aubergine. Being with you makes me want to be a better person. Please come home.”
“But not better enough to be faithful to your wife?” Choosing my words carefully I opened my mouth to answer but Aubergine was not finished yet. “Roux I’m not stupid I know that you could have cheated on me at any time, but you didn’t. It was only with her, the one I listened to you talk with traces of love still in your eyes when we first met at my parents’ house when you told me your story. I took a chance with you knowing that you still loved someone else even though you might have said otherwise and cursed her name, you loved her still after all this time. I took a chance before and look where I ended up. I don’t want to take another and end up back here again with my heart broken for a second time.”
“I used to think before there was a reason for everything. That everything that had happened before in both of our lives happened to lead up to the point that we would both be ready to meet each other. But now it all seems for nothing because I can’t find a reason for why any of this had happen. I was willing to give up my family to be with you Roux. I left behind them and a guy that would have never done a thing like this to me. Why did you even have to tell me? I could have lived happily and unknowingly thinking till the day I died that I had the best husband in the world. But no you had to be selfish and try to relieve yourself of the guilt that came along with what you and that woman had done. And now I have to carry this burden too. I have to wallow with you in this pain the two of you have caused. Why couldn’t you continue on being selfish? For the first time I am thinking that maybe we did rush into this. Maybe we should have waited until we knew each other a bit better than just knowing each other for not even a year.”
“I would relive my life a thousand times over if it ensured me meeting you every time. Everything from being teased as a child because no one knew who my father was, to being a stepping stone for almost every girl that I dated, to finding out who my father was only after he died. Here it is all here for you to read every secret, everything that I kept hidden from everyone else before I continued on.” I said as I handed her the thick stack of papers, remembering that I had brought them. “If this is what it took for me to meet you then it was all worth it and I would not change anything. Not even if I had the chance to have a relationship with my father or had a mother that didn’t keep me in the dark all those years that I didn’t have to run away just to get her attention when she was filming or walking away from Shiraz, I wouldn’t change a damn thing Aubergine. I love you and I’d rather die than hurt you again”
“How do I know this is never going to happen again Roux?” She asked me with her eyes fighting to spill over in tears. I could tell she wanted to believe me but was scared too. “You’ll just have to trust me.” I replied to her and Aubergine turned away at those words “I don’t know if I can yet or will ever be able to again.”
“But couldn’t we just try? That’s all I am asking for Aubergine, for you to try with me. If it doesn't work and I’ve successfully ruined the best thing that’s ever happened to me then I’ll sign whatever papers you want me to and we’ll end this.” I implored her as I turned her back to face me. “Please.”
“I don’t know Roux! I still need time.” She said as she broke free and began to go to the door “How much more time?” I asked feeling like she was slowly starting to slip away, that soon she would be gone and it would be over. “I’ll let you know in a week.” She replied before going back into the house and shutting the door behind her “On Saturday you’ll have your answer whether or not this is over.”
For a week I wondered and waited for her answer as I tried to take care of things around the house as proficiently as she did. In hopes that she did come back I wanted to show her that I appreciated all of her hard work with our house that she had made into a home for us. But things didn’t always go so easily and I left quite a few things broken such as when I tried to use the dishwasher and couldn’t find the dishwasher detergent. Dish soap is the same thing right? Wrong.
I was again the next day when I just blindly poured the laundry soap into the washer machine and turned it on to wash my clothes with whatever other clothes I found in the hampers around the house. “Fudge! Not again!” I yelled as I kicked the machine and got sudsy water all over my shoe and pants. I got an ever worse shock when I opened the machine and discovered I had turned my blue clothes purple…
After those incidents I tried to take gently care of her garden out back. It was some strange comfort almost being close to her again as I watered the plants that she had caringly raised from seeds or seedlings into full blooms plants and trees that bore the fruit and vegetables that stocked our kitchen. I even planted a new plant out there for her what was called a life fruit bush. I was told that it was a rare plant and it glowed gently into the night. As corny or as cliché as it may sound Aubergine and the kids were my life, I just hoped that I could keep it alive by the time she hopefully came home.
When Saturday came around I waited for any sign of word from her but heard none by the late afternoon and into the early evening. That’s when it hit me that she wasn’t coming back. The table was all set with food that I had made myself but no one was coming, I was all alone as I sat down on the couch and buried my head in my hands in despair with nothing else that I could do.
I don’t know how long I sat there like that and for a second I thought I could hear the sound of Porfirio giggling the way he did when he ran, followed by a thud as the door and then a cry. As quickly as I could I got to the door and opened it to behold my son Porfirio sitting on the stone walkway while he rubbed his teary eyes as he looked up at me in just as much surprise as I did when I looked down at him.
Scooping him up I could see Wisteria walking up the walkway with her mother following behind as she carried both girls. “You came back.” I spoke in surprise before I realized it as I moved away from the door way to make room. “Yes, I did be it as it may I still love you and even after this I still want to be with you. Plus like you said we have a couples counseling appointment to go to on Monday.” Aubergine replied to me as she walked into the house.
And things did get better. It wasn’t easy; there were understandably some trust issues that arose from time to time. But I did everything I could to help ease those away. I didn’t get angry when she would randomly question me sometimes with I would get home because I knew that she was just scared of being hurt again and that if I got defensive it would only cause us to go back the few steps we came.
Attending our weekly meetings with our marriage counselor was a big help also. Afterward we would eat lunch together either at the bistro or the new café on the other side of town. As much as we loved our children it was refreshing to spend time together without them as we dined together being able to focus on what the other was saying instead of the usual stop and go talking that we did.
It didn’t take long for after I had quit to find out from Dino over the phone that Shiraz had also left work two weeks into my sudden leave of absence as he complained that everyone was leaving at work. He had driven her to the airport and helped her pack though she still wouldn’t accept another date or just going to get a coffee with him after she had broken the only one she accepted awhile back, he also gripped. As much as I didn’t want to hear about her I was thankful and relieved to find out that she had left. It felt like a part of my life had closed and that chapter was finally over. I would be lying if I said my feelings for her instantly went away or even if they went away at all, but I loved my wife and was more than thankful that she was willing to try to work out the mess with me that I had made.
Life with two sets of twin can go by so easily, sometimes it felt like we were waking up and going back to sleep exhausted in a blink of an eye. In those few months Starry and Indigo went from being the little sleepy swaddled infants into crawling, then walking albeit mostly coasting curious girls with distinct personalities that vastly differed from each other.
Indigo was more outgoing and loved having everyone’s attention on her, especially her “Uncle” Mars when he would come to visit from Briocheporte. It wouldn’t surprise either of me or Aubergine if Mars was her first word.
As much as Indigo liked her attention Starry seemed more at ease on her own as she set off to explore her surroundings quietly by herself. Large crowds would often make her cry we found out on Wisteria and Porfirio’s second birthday party when we invited friends and family to join in the celebration.
Speaking of Wisteria and Porfirio, after they had their second birthday had come and went Aubergine and I decided to fix up the old play area outside to make some of it toddler useable and to update it for when they got older. “So you see when Porfirio gets old enough he can help me build a tree house.” I said to her one afternoon after putting installing the riding toys into the ground. “A tree house? Are you sure you’ll be able to build one? It did take you all day to get these rider toys put in the ground properly.” She was quick to point out. “Yes, a tree house, every kid should have a tree house or some sort of fort. I always wanted one growing up but my mom and Fade always had one excuse or another for not having one. I think the kids will like it a lot, just think of all the adventures or tea parties they could have in it. And yes it will be safe, I’ll try it out to make sure it is before any of them set foot in it.” I assured her while I started to make plans for it in my mind.
For the first time in months I saw her smile at me as she tried not to picture me trying out the tree house and for the first time in a while I thought that things might eventually be right between us again.
But as suddenly as those feelings came they were washed away with an unexpected knock at the door. It came after dinner as Aubergine was clearing away the plates and I was letting the kids loose out of their high chairs to run amok before their bedtime. “Would you get that?” She asked with her hands full as I put Starry on the ground before she toddled away. “Sure” I replied before leaving the kitchen as I saw who it was through the glass of the door I slowed down while I walked across the living room and opened the door.
“Shiraz? Why are you here?” I asked in disbelief when I saw her as myriad of emotions rushed through me. “I…I need to talk to you. I’m 8 months pregnant and I thought you should know that you’re her father. I wanted to hurt you since you choose her over me and not tell you about this pregnancy. Then one day maybe you would eventually find out about her somehow. But I couldn’t bring myself to do that to you in the end. Even if it would make things a whole lot easier if I could just forget you too and walk away from you forever.”
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